Snarky Lawyer

Can the Police Detain Me on Suspicion of DWI Based on an Anonymous Tip?

March 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Misdemeanor DWI arrests in Texas often begin with a traffic stop. A police officer must first have “reasonable suspicion” that a traffic violation has occurred to initiate such a stop. This is a lower standard than either the “probable cause” required for arrest or the “beyond a reasonable doubt” necessary for a criminal conviction. Put […]

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How Throwing a Beer Can at Your Partner Can Land You in Jail for 25 Years

March 16th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

A conviction on domestic violence charges can land you in prison for a very long time. Defendants often face an uphill battle in these cases due to the emotionally charged nature of domestic (or family) violence allegations. This is why it is essential to make sure police and prosecutors follow the law when it comes […]

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How That “Junked Vehicle” on Your Front Lawn Can Lead to Misdemeanor Charges

March 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Traffic violations normally involve vehicles that are actually traveling on public highways. But the Texas Transportation Code also regulates the use of non-operating or “junked” vehicles. Section 638.071 of the Code defines a junked vehicle as one that is either “wrecked, dismantled or partially dismantled, or discarded,” or that has been inoperable for more than […]

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Court of Criminal Appeals Throws Out “Non-Existent” Drug Conspiracy Conviction

March 5th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

There are scenarios where prosecutors elect to treat drug offenses, such as possession with intent to deliver, as part of a larger criminal conspiracy. The Texas Penal Code expressly authorizes prosecutions for “engaging in organized criminal activity,”, which carries potentially harsher jail terms for defendants if convicted. But the mere fact that a person is […]

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Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for “Preserving” Objection in Criminal Appeals

March 3rd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

If you are on trial for a criminal offense, the judge may make a number of decisions that you disagree with. Some of these decisions may seriously affect the outcome of the trial itself. As the defendant, you (or more commonly, your attorney) must object or otherwise bring a possible error to the judge’s attention […]

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Houston Man Convicted of Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns on Behalf of Foreign Oil & Gas Workers

February 27th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar Crime

Tax crimes are among the most commonly prosecuted forms of white collar crimes in Texas. Indeed, one of the easiest ways to find yourself in the crosshairs of the IRS or the U.S. Attorney’s office is to file a fraudulent tax return–or even worse, to file multiple such returns on behalf of other people. This […]

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The Role of “Outcry Witnesses” in Texas Sex Crimes Prosecutions

February 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Hearsay statements are generally not admissible in criminal trials. Hearsay refers to any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. For example, if a prosecutor wanted to prove that John committed murder, she could not have Luke testify that “Mark told me that John committed the murder.” Luke’s statement would be […]

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Is Burning Someone on the Leg with a Cigarette Considered “Assault” in Texas?

February 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. Assault is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another” person. In this context, a “bodily injury” includes any amount of physical pain suffered by the victim. For example, a Dallas appeals court recently upheld an assault conviction that was partly based on evidence […]

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When Are DWI Penalties “Enhanced” Under Texas Law?

February 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI

In a Texas DWI case, prosecutors may seek an “enhanced” sentence against a defendant under certain circumstances. For example, if the defendant has a prior criminal conviction, that could lead to additional jail time if they are subsequently convicted of drunk driving. But such an enhancement is only justified when there is evidence presented related […]

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How Domestic Violence Can Raise Misdemeanor Assault to a Felony

February 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can elevate a misdemeanor charge into a felony offense. For example, under Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, assault is normally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. But if the assault is committed against a member of the defendant’s family and involves “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation […]

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